It was penalty heartbreak again for the Netherlands in the World Cup as Argentina progress to the semi-finals. Netherlands battled back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw but Argentina won the penalty shootout.

Louis van Gaal made only one change to the side that defeated the USA with Steven Bergwijn returning to the starting eleven. Cody Gakpo dropped to number ten while Davy Klaassen was on the bench.

From the start, the Netherlands looked to keep the ball and remain calm in possession. There were few chances until Argentina took the lead in the 35th minute when Lionel Messi played in Nahuel Molina to poke the ball past Andries Noppert and into the net.

Teun Koopmeiners and Steven Berghuis emerged at the break but they could not bring creativity to the Dutch side that created very little.

With twenty minutes left, Denzel Dumfries brought down Acuna in the box and Messi made it 2-0 from the spot.

Van Gaal went route one for the final minutes with Luuk de Jong and Wout Weghorst up front and it worked fantastically. Firstly, Weghorst made it 2-1 with a well-finished header before Berghuis almost equalised with a fierce strike.

In the final minutes of extra time, Gakpo earned a free-kick on the edge of the box and a well-worked routine saw Koopmeiners set up Weghorst to make it 2-2 in dramatic circumstances.

Netherlands went into defensive mode in extra time and they managed to keep Argentina out thanks to Andries Noppert and the post.

The match went to penalties just like it did in 2014 and just like it did then, Argentina went through. Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis saw their spot kicks saved.

An end to the World Cup for the Netherlands and an end for Van Gaal’s era in charge of Oranje.




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